While COVID-19 clearly affected claims patterns for private drug plans in 2020, its net impact was, perhaps surprisingly, relatively minimal. For example, on the one hand claims for maintenance medications spiked during the early months of the pandemic due to Canadians’ efforts to stockpile as well as governments’ counterefforts to protect the drug supply. On the other hand, claims for acute medications declined sharply due to delayed surgeries and far fewer visits to physicians’ offices. The growth rate for total eligible drug costs for all insureds is not remarkably higher or lower than results for the previous four years. It can also be described as “pandemic-proof,” given the deflationary trend experienced by many other areas of consumer spending in 2020. On a cost-per-claim basis, growth was more than three times the average rate of increase of the consumer price index…
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